TX Conveyor Maker Fined after Fatality

Monday, June 9, 2014 @ 12:06 PM gHale

KWS Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is facing $77,000 in fines for 17 safety and health violations after a worker suffered fatal injuries at the Burleson, TX-based company in December, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s Fort Worth Area Office found workers ended up exposed to caught-in hazards and amputation hazards from unguarded machinery, and struck-by hazards associated with the rigging and moving of heavy metals from the manufacturing of conveyor’s. KWS Manufacturing employs 130 workers and manufactures screw conveyor systems.

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The worker died when his left arm ended up caught in the unguarded rotating parts of a machine he operated. Subsequently, he ended up entangled and flipped several times before the machine turned off. An employee working nearby was not able to turn off the machinery in time because it did not have an emergency stop device.

“The employer’s disregard for OSHA’s machine guarding standards ultimately led to this employee’s death,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “It is unacceptable that KWS failed to evaluate working conditions and provide guarding on its machines. This type of negligence will not be tolerated.”

The 14 serious safety violations include failure to provide required machine guarding, including the reamer machine involved in the fatality; failure to inspect overhead cranes, hoists, hooks and slings regularly; failure to rate job fabricated lifting devices; failure to guard belts and pulley’s; and failure to provide training to overhead crane and forklift operators.

The three serious health violations include failure to provide a hearing conservation program; failure to provide an administrator for the respiratory program; and failure to implement a hazard communication program. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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